Aug 3, 2014

It's never Lupus... it's Ebola!

There are a ton of half-formulated posts rattling around in my head, but I haven't had the time or energy to get them banged out into something cogent. I still owe y'all a couple reviews of things.

Work has been insane. The rollercoaster mood swings associated with a mass layoff are tough and neither management or our union *spit* have been very helpful. Still no firm date.

And now ... Ebola on our shores. In chat last night, two People Who Know indicated that this is a Very Serious Concern. A direct quote was, "This strain of Ebola should scare the shit out of you."

I wrote a term paper on Ebola in high school. That was a long time ago, but the rough facts have hung out in the back of my head: short incubation, then a rapid spiral down with usual case fatality rate in the 90% range.

Apparently this new strain has a longer incubation and a slightly lower fatality rate ... which is BAD. With earlier strains, infection to symptomatic was usually 3-7 days. Short enough to be able to associate the early exposure with the present illness, and then death was quick. The pandemics burned themselves out in a hurry.

The new strain? 15-20 day incubation during which time you're not contagious, then a few days of low-grade fever, aches, chills ... you know, a summer flu. How many of us have gone to work with a minor case of the blahs, and then sneezed and coughed all over our cube, break room, restroom, etc? That's where this strain is going to be a problem if it actually manages a foothold here. On top of that, its lower mortality actually increases the potential number of deaths - because people won't associate the symptoms soon, will think they're getting better, and infect more people.

Just for comparison sake, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 had an estimated mortality rate of 3-5% (and a case fatality rate of 10-20%).

I'm not panicking - but I am sure as hell going to be more aware of what's going on around me, and an extra bit of food in the larder might not be a bad thing.


Old NFO said...

Yep... This one has a LOT of potentially negative connotations that I won't get into here... But I wouldn't want to be hitting any airports that have international arrivals right now...

Glenn B said...

And the idiots allowed it into the USA and are about to let in a second case of it. I am all for treating those infected but see no reason to allow it to travel internationally - just too much of a zombie apocalypse scenario in the possibilities.

Bubblehead Les. said...

My concern is that since it seems to have hit the West Coast of Africa, that means that all those Tramp Freighters plying up and down the coast can take it into the Med or South America, then it gets spread around all those Port Cities.

Just like the Plague did in the MIddle Ages.